English - Get 'em hooked

15th February 2013 at 00:00
A pirate adventure is an evening treat for a school in its pyjamas

Home time has long since been and gone. Evening shadows have lengthened into night-time. One by one the stars have come out and a watchful moon has resumed his seat in the heavens. I suppose it's time I climbed the stairs to Bedfordshire and snuggled up in my duvet with a good book. After all, it is 7 o'clock.

Only 7 o'clock? I know you're thinking I've lost the plot. But in fact I'm right in the middle of it. It's the bit where Pirate Pete decides to go to Sleepy Island. Perhaps I should explain that I am in our school hall dressed in my best pyjamas - the ones I was saving for any unexpected trips to hospital - and my wife's fluffy pink dressing gown. And I am not alone. Most of our staff is here, and everyone is dressed for bed.

There are lots of children, too. They are also wearing pyjamas and some of them are cuddling teddy bears. Denzel, who is sitting beside me, is holding a purple dragon that is almost as big as he is. Neither Denzel nor his dragon will allow me to miss a single word of Pirate Pete.

This is not part of an emergency evacuation plan. There has been no natural or man-made disaster. The children are not sheltering from flood, famine, pestilence or a dodgy gas main. We are actually in the middle of our third Book at Bedtime.

Book at Bedtime is a simple way to enthuse children and parents about books and reading. Ours is open to the entire school community. Not only are all children and parents from nursery to Year 6 encouraged to come along but older and younger family members as well.

The organisation is simple. After the children have gone home for dinner we get the hall ready. A selection of favourite books for every age range is taken from classrooms; PE mats and benches are put out; and various cushions, pillows, blankets, quilts and cuddly toys are scattered. By the time the children return dressed in their pyjamas, everything is ready. All they have to do is pick a book, a reading partner and a nice comfortable spot.

"After all, where there was gold, they were a-goin," I say, turning over the last page of Pirate Pete for the second time.

"Again," says Denzel.

"Are you sure you want me to read it again?" I ask. "They're serving supper in the dining room now. It's hot chocolate and biscuits!"

"Again," says Denzel.

Steve Eddison is a key stage 2 teacher at Arbourthorne Community Primary School in Sheffield

What else?

Take a look at natalieee_a's lesson plans and activities linking the Grimm brothers' traditional tales with the world of Walt Disney.


If you're looking for a different way of reading to your class, why not try valerie yule's list of 20 ideas that work?


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